Who Speaks for Whom: Authority, Tradition, and Encyclopedias of Islam
This review article provides a broad overview of the academic, political, and methodological framework of five encyclopedias of Islam. Starting with the 4-volume The Encyclopædia of Islam: A Dictionary of the Geography, Ethnography and Biography of the Muhammadan Peoples, published between 1913-38, the review traces history and raison d’être for the emergence of encyclopedic works on Islam and examines their mutual influence on each other. Specific attention is given to the social and political environment in which academic activity takes place. Three current Muslim projects are compared with Brill’s ground-breaking Encyclopædia of Islam and with each other. Using two case studies (entries on Adam and Abu Bakr) the article examines source material, methodology, and perspective in the new encyclopedias.